Re: Technical Presentation Skills

Subject: Re: Technical Presentation Skills
From: "Susan W. Gallagher" <sgallagher -at- STARBASECORP -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 1995 10:15:58 -0800

In answer to Henri...

> Henri J. Blits (INTERNET:HenriBlits -at- AOL -dot- COM) says:


> > I am looking for highly innovative ways to teach proper presentation
> > techniques to students in my classes; specifically, creative ways to convey
> > technical material to heterogeneous audiences. Also, I'm looking for some
> > good ideas for dealing with students who are frightened to death of getting
> > up and sharing information with audiences...especially ones who are the ONLY
> > experts in the area and who need to share this technical information.
> > If you would like to share those ideas with me I would be humbly
> > appreciative.

Lori Lathrop replied...

> First, the best advice you can give to anyone who's frightened about
> giving a presentation is this: Know your subject cold. Know it
> backwards and forwards. Know it inside out. Nothing cures stage fright
> better than having complete confidence in your knowledge of the subject.

Also, keep in mind that nobody in the audience knows your subject as
well as you do... Nor do they know what you're supposed to say! So, if
you blow a line or two, it's no big deal. Just go on with things. The
audience will never notice!

> Believe me, I know what stage fright is like. Although many people who
> know me now would have a hard time believing this, I used to be a shy
> person. Whenever I had to speak in front of a group, my knees knocked,
> my voice quivered and, if I was holding a piece of paper, it rattled!
> I was determined to overcome my shyness and improve my speaking skills,
> so I took acting classes and performed in theatre productions in order
> to get over it and, once I learned that I could be outgoing (and even
> outrageous) as a character on stage, it became much easier for me to
> feel more comfortable AS LONG AS I KNEW MY LINES OR MATERIAL. That's
> the key.

[snip some *really* good advice]

Me too! I can remember trying out for a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta in
high school and running from the room in tears when my first note came
out as a Z-double-flat!!! I was supposed to do a duet with the cutest
tenor in school, too! Very disappointing!

So... There I was, 15 years later, working as a computer instructor and
forced to be in front of an audience almost every day! I took voice
lessons at the community college... One of those classes that makes you
get on stage and "solo it" so that the rest of the class can critique
your performance.

I think the key here is practice... Practice...Practice...Practice...
Take every opportunity to get up on stage... Voice class, theater,
toastmasters... Whatever works for you. Just do it!!!

Sue Gallagher
Technical Writer
StarBase Corporation, Irvine CA
sgallagher -at- starbasecorp -dot- com

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